Falling into Myself

“Beauty and Strength Come from Within”

This week marks 10 years that the Universe “removed” me from a most toxic work environment. Despite the challenges that followed, I will be forever grateful.

You see, for years leading up to the start of yet another school year in 2012, I felt my soul was getting more and more compromised. My integrity, values, self respect, intentional way of living, being and moving in my world were not in alignment amid that type of work environment where backstabbing and outright meanness, bullying and harassment from “higher ups” was the status quo.

Thankfully, my yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices kept my head above water-barely shall I say- and, unknowingly, prepared me for the journey that lay ahead….especially the physical journey. The irony was that despite being in tune with my body, I was not listening to it. I asked the Universe to intervene- it delivered and, just like that about a week later, I was removed from a place that otherwise would have been the cause for whisking me away in a stretcher or in a body bag that school year.

Fast forward a few weeks later, on the eve of my 54th birthday, and I almost died on the operating table (amidst cursing and screaming as per my surgeon), as I lay there for 7 hours getting put back together again. I had several out of body (near death experiences) immediately after my surgery due to my horrifically low blood pressure and blood loss. In total, I had to get 5-6 units of blood. This surgery would also require a future one, which I was in denial about from the onset, until I had no choice but to have it 3 years later. Then another one 4 years after that…all because I wasn’t listening to my body while in that toxic environment where I was working anywhere from 10-15 hour days.

At the time, I was a vice-principal. As I just told you, I was in tune with my body as a result of my yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices, but I wasn’t “listening” to the sounds that were coming from it. Sounds where a simple Google search would have had me running to my orthopedic surgeon mind you!

Looking back now, that “forced” removal brought with it the forced “rest” that comes with physical rehab. The inquiry and inner investigation that came with it was the start of a much needed and overdue rest practice. It was the start of me falling into me.

After 12 years as a VP in such a toxic atmosphere and working with bad behavior ( and in some cases mentally ill higher ups), recovery didn’t come easily. I couldn’t immediately process all of it as I was trying to process WTF happened to me…to my body… what I put it through…and how I was going to get through each day moving forward. Would I ever walk on my own again? Would I get any feeling back in my leg? Would the nerve pain ever subside? Who will help me? I also looked skeletal, and all I could do when I saw my friends was cry. The fact that the end of my career got ripped out from under me didn’t even factor into the equation at this point in time.

It took me years of tears, physical therapy, sadness, self-love, compassion, rest, patience, and tapping into my resilience and inner fortitude to feel it all in order to heal. You know how the saying goes, “You have to feel it to heal it.” It wasn’t until last year, after my last orthopedic surgery and finding myself free of physical pain and debilitation, that I FINALLY started enjoying retirement…only to have another surgery this past June. It was one I had wanted to have done years ago but was consumed with all things orthopedic. If you haven’t read my last two blogs, Doing a Thing and The Heal is Real, you can read about my elective surgery.

Thanks to one of my beloved teachers, Tracee Stanley, and her online portal, the practice of Yoga Nidra has played a VITAL role in the quality of my life, rest, healing, presence, discernment and intentionality over the past couple of years. These practices and habits have also helped me to eradicate the word “busy” from my vocabulary. If you know me, you know how I loathe that word!

We all know the saying about time being our most valuable currency, and we should be very discerning about how we choose to spend it. Of late, I have been looking at time as a function of mindful moments where I choose to be 100% present. No multitasking allowed…wink, wink. Not even something as simple as talking on the phone and doing something else. I try my best to give my full attention to the person or the activity I am engaged in. In retrospect, I think that my 2022 word, spaciousness, has been a game changer. It’s allowed me to explore ways to create more space, fluidity and awareness.

Being aware, fully rested, grounded, rooted, and resourced has gifted me with the magic of presence . Over the years, I’ve evolved into a human BE-ing rather than a human DO-ing. And I really owe it all to my rest practices; both the forced ones from years ago and the ones I’ve cultivated with teachers like Tracee Stanley and Octavia Raheem. Tracee’s book, Radiant Rest, Yoga Nidra for Deep Relaxation and Awakened Clarity as well as Octavia’s book, Pause Rest Be: Stillness Practices for Courage in Times of Change, have also been game changers! I know this may sound crazy, but these books and rest practices have gifted me with more time, space, creativity, clarity, discernment, intuition and grace. Now THAT is the power of rest!

What we have all put our bodies through in this toxic culture of productivity and 24/7 connectedness is mind blowing! Stop and think about it for a moment. No wonder our bodies have been broken down, why we’ve been brought to our knees, developed diseases from all the dis-ease in our bodies and perhaps even live in a state of depression and/or anxiety. I encourage you all to take the time to determine where your life is out of balance, what needs to change, who or what you need to let go, what you want to call in and what areas of your life are in need of deep healing.

Have you been listening to your body?

How do you tune in to your inner GPS?

Are you numbing yourself so you don’t have to feel and, if so, in what ways?

What is your relationship with loss and grief?

How do you deal with transitions or sudden changes?

In what ways do you care for your inner Self?

As I’ve written in other blogs, September and October have always been difficult months for me due to the many losses that have occurred in those months. As I prepare for yet another big transition, I am able to see that as a result of my mindfulness practices, yoga, meditation, and rest, I find myself in deep gratitude for endings and new beginnings.

I am presently getting ready to move out of a place I’ve called home and have lived in for 12 years. A place I refer to as my Treehouse Oasis because of all the trees outside my windows, the myriad of birds that visit, the high vaulted ceilings, and the peace, serenity and quietude that surrounds it.

As I look back on these 12 years, my Treehouse Oasis has been a refuge of sorts. It’s been a place of sacred ritual and much healing: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It has held me, held endless tears, losses, and grief – welcomed and unwelcome as well as planned and unplanned. Conversely, it has also been a place filled with much love, immense gratitude, celebrations, learning, unlearning, evolving and transformation. And let me not forget REST….for it is the foundation of beauty and strength in my book. My mama was right all those decades ago! Too bad I listen listen back then.

The hardest part will be leaving my close-knit circle of friends, since I will be taking up residence in my little seaside “crash pad” for a while. I know new life experiences, people, adventures and opportunities that will enable me to InspireLoveServe await. Nevertheless, it will be yet another transition I find myself preparing, planning and organizing for during this time of year.

I will be falling into myself yet again. The thing is that I’ve realized falling into oneself is a continuous process of releasing, shedding, becoming, unbecoming, calling in and attracting. It’s a process that, when embraced, fills our hearts with joy, intention and meaning. I admit that I love change, I embrace it and I thrive on it. So…I know that all good things await.

September, the fall season and the darkness that comes with it is a great time to look back, take stock, assess, let go and create space to draw in. I will continue to look back and reflect on these past ten years and connect the dots: see all that had to fall away so that new circumstances, people, places, adventures, beauty and blessings could come in. I am steeped in deep gratitude for all of it and, along the way, I will be planting some new seeds this autumn.

What seeds are you planting this autumn?

How do you want your life to evolve?

What do you need more of?

What do you need less of?

Where is your energy best spent?

Darlings, there is no season quite like Autumn! May this season of change bring you a beautiful harvest, abundant blessings, beauty, strength, and space to be still and listen! JTC

The Heal is Real

“With every breath I take, I am getting healthier and healthier.”

Dear Body,

Keep being beautifully flawed.

Don’t strive to be anything but what you are in your healthiest, happiest state.

You deserve to feel celebrated.

You have done so much for me, and I vow to love you a little more everyday that I have the gift of waking up.

You are a sexy force of nature.

Thank you

I came across this beautiful piece on instagram a couple of weeks after my explant surgery ( you may want to check out my previous blog, Doing a Thing, if you haven’t already perused it- it will explain it all). Dear Body truly spoke to my soul. Unfortunately, I have no idea who wrote it, but it was not me.

As a matter of fact, my last blog was the day before my surgery, and here it is 3 months post-op and already feeling like a million bucks! I have not blogged since then for a number of reasons. It’s not that I wasn’t writing, because I pretty much journal every day. Primarily though, I just wanted to focus of my post-explant healing.

There is a saying in the explant community, The Heal is Real. In all honesty, I was a little skeptical and unsure about that pre-op. Let me tell you now that I’m on the other side- and I’ll shout it off the mountain tops- THE HEAL IS REAL!!!

Yep, it sure is!

The hundreds of thousands of women who’ve been sharing their stories on line, and who’ve often been ignored or gaslit by the doctors who do not believe in Breast Implant Inflammation (BII), have been coming out in droves. Thanks to the internet, YouTube, blogs and social media platforms, women have been telling their stories, sharing pre and post-op pics – some actually show pictures of their removed capsules and implants- and even surgeons are speaking out and sharing pictures of these “toxic bags.”

And toxic bags they are. You should see some of the pics…mold, discoloration, particles floating in them….yikes! As a matter of fact, some surgeons have stopped doing implants altogether and are speaking out about the dangers of breast implants and BII. My…..we’ve come a long way, baby!

Within the first week of my surgery, my energy level was through the roof. If you know me, you know I have a lot of energy to begin with. Let’s just say it has gotten enhanced… wink, wink. My joint inflammation decreased- to the point where I have zero inflammation in one of my knees which was perpetually inflamed for years. Furthermore, the osteoarthritis pain in my hands is gone! The icing on the cake thus far is that bloodwork that was done 3 weeks post op shows my thyroid levels are improving!

Grateful….ever so grateful!

I’m keeping this particular blog short and sweet as I basically wanted to do a quick follow up to my last blog. I’ve also been on a social media sabbatical, so I am easing my way back.

Darlings, I encourage us all to read Dear Body over and over again and make a commitment to LOVE ON YOUR BODY (which happens to be the name of a new song by the very talented Londrelle). I highly recommend you listen to it over and over again! Sometimes I even have it on replay when I am showering and doing some self massage.

I am loving on my body and loving by small boobs more than ever!!!!

Grateful…ever so grateful!

Sending you all much love and abundant blessings, JTC

Doing a Thing…

“Every woman that finally figured out her worth has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom which landed in the valley of change.” Shannon L. Alder

So…I’m doing a thing. Something I’ve been wanting to do for some time. Something I’ve entertained and talked about for years (but have had orthopedic issues which were more pressing and needed tending to). Something I am hoping will improve my health and long-term quality of life. As someone who has always been into health and wellness, I can honestly say that my lifestyle is all about self-care. And at this point in my life, it makes all the sense in the world to do this thing…it’s been overdue.

Back when I was 40 years old- probably in a place of not really knowing my Self and my worth- I was into heavy weight training, spin classes, aerobics, kick-boxing, step and all things related to body image and achieving that perfect “balance” in body physique. To the dismay of my husband at the time, I got breast augmentation. He could not understand why on earth I would want them because he didn’t feel I needed them. But, you know how vanity and ego work hand in hand. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I did not realize how the beauty industry was such a toxic part of our society and deeply rooted in white supremacy.

Now, 20+ years and several pounds later (and guess where most of THAT weight has gone), I have decided to finally get my breast implants removed. I continue working on dissolution of the ego so, YES, I’m boarding my flight to freedom and landing in the valley of change. If you know me, you know how much I love and embrace change!

As a matter of fact, the explant surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, June 2nd.

If you follow me, you know that I believe sharing is caring, that our stories inspire, educate, and motivate others. It is part of what it means to be human in this web on interconnection. I’m a firm believer in what Maya Angelou used to say, “When you learn, teach.”

So…I am passing along some basic information about Breast Implant Inflammation- otherwise known as BII.You can google it yourself and fall into the rabbit hole- but I’m here to spare you. I just wanted to pass on some info in the event you or someone you know is contemplating getting implants or having them removed.

Disclaimer: all the information regarding BII that follows I got from various sources online.

BII is an informal term that some women — and even some doctors — use to describe a range of unexplained symptoms that women can experience following cosmetic breast augmentation or reconstructive breast surgery with implants. 

Some symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

joint and muscle pain, memory loss, concentration problems, breathing problems, chronic fatigue, sleep disturbance rashes, skin problems, dry mouth, dry eyes, anxiety, depression, migraines, hair loss, gastrointestinal problems, symptoms of EBV, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Sjogren’s, Fibromyalgia, Lyme, toxic shock …and the list can go on and on.

The symptoms can appear any time after implant surgery — some people develop symptoms immediately, while some develop them years later. A lot of the symptoms of BII are associated with autoimmune and connective tissue disorders, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma. Some people who have BII also get diagnosed with a specific autoimmune or connective tissue disorder, but many do not. In many, but not all cases, surgery to remove the breast implants improves or completely resolves the BII symptoms. BII is not currently recognized as an official medical diagnosis, and there is no diagnosis code for it. It is poorly understood and hasn’t been studied much as a unique condition.

“BII is a cluster of symptoms that don’t fit into any other classic disease diagnosis,” says Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D., president of the National Center for Health Research and a researcher who studies breast implant safety issues. “We believe that it eventually will be recognized as a medical condition, but that process will take time.” Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the major plastic surgery societies, and other health authorities have been devoting more attention to BII than they did in the past.

In May 2019, the FDA released a statement noting that the agency’s officials are “taking steps to better characterize [BII] and its risk factors, and are considering ways to help to ensure women have all of the information they need to make informed decisions about whether to obtain breast implants or to remove existing breast implants in an effort to reverse systemic symptoms.” In October 2019, the agency published a draft of recommendations to implant manufacturers for new labeling for breast implants. The agency advised manufacturers to include information about the risk of systemic symptoms in a boxed warning and in a patient decision checklist that would be included in patient information booklets.

In addition, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation are developing and funding new research on BII. To date, there haven’t been any studies that looked at the number of women with breast implants who develop BII. More women have been reporting BII symptoms to doctors and to the FDA during the last few years, which may be because social media groups and media coverage helped to raise awareness of the condition. Thousands of women have joined online communities related to breast implant illness.

From my personal experience, I can tell you there are thousands of stories, experiences, support, resources and tools on these private social media groups. That is a rabbit hole I found myself falling into once I scheduled my surgery. While these groups are informative, supportive and educational, I decided two weeks ago to just stay off socials as I prep for my surgery. Keeping my nervous system regulated is a daily practice, so I’ll go back on after the fact and share my experience with the group. The members are truly very supportive!

Also, I would highly recommend watching the documentary Explant. As described online, Michelle Visage, a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, author and podcaster, is no stranger to the limelight. And now she adds documentary star to her list of accomplishments with the release of Explant, streaming on Paramount+ Michelle Visage had her breast implants removed after 20 years of unexplained, undiagnosed illness. Now her deeply personal journey is available to the masses, with the hopes of redeeming other women, through Explant.

I found it to be a stellar documentary, so well done, so much research, interviews, internal memos leaked, clips of hearings, lots of history, foul play and press clippings….. It’s definitely worth watching. Had something like this been around back then, I would have NEVER gotten breast implants! If you are contemplating getting implants, please watch this documentary…do your research! If a child, relative or friend is contemplating getting them, recommend the documentary. Hey, I am all for plastic surgery if that is what you want to do or have to do for obvious reasons like post- mastectomy or are transitioning and want to have top surgery. I’m simply a firm believer in being an educated consumer. and knowing your options.

These days, I’m simply not into doing anything that puts my own health at risk anymore. So…I’m hoping that, like scores of other women who’ve had explant surgery, my autoimmune issues may start improving. And if they do, great! If not, it’s still a win-win because I am getting something out of my body that I wish I had never put in.

I’d like to send a shout out to all my supportive friends who are my lifeline…you know who you are, what you do and how you do it! I am truly blessed and infinitely grateful to be surrounded by such loving and badass goddesses, soul sisters and humans who know how to show up and how to rally around you. We are always there for each other because, in the words of my dearest friend Patti, “This is what we do.”

The following affirmation found its way to me, and its timing is perfect:

“I am choosing to commit to myself, my health and my healing. I commit to the practices and actions that help me be clear, centered and grounded. I know that when I take care of myself, everything aligns in my life beautifully.”

See you on the other side!

Infinite love and gratitude, JTC

Allow Yourself Some Grace

“ Today I choose to think thoughts that will manifest positive results in the future.“

So… I knew I was making a mistake getting a caffeinated tea at 7 AM when I got to NYU for a doctor appointment. I must admit, I wasn’t fully present. Just as I was finishing a text to one of my girlfriends, one of the nurses showed up and started talking to me. The little voice wanted to warn me, but I shut it up, finished my text and engaged in conversation.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I stopped at my local coffee shop, Booskerdoo, for my customary chai latte with oat milk which I always get upon my arrival at the shore. Not good! Not wise! Did I listen? Of course not. I was elated and on a high after getting a great report one year post – knee replacement surgery. Sidenote – the other knee isn’t that great, but it’s been OK and hasn’t been giving me too much of an issue pain wise considering I have osteoarthritis and have complete space loss on weight bearing.

Having my left knee replaced greatly relieved the stress I had put on my other knee for the four years until I had the surgery. Thank you, God!

And speaking of space, which was my 2022 word, here it is five months into the new year, and I’ve had so much of it. I’ve been more intentional, deliberate, diligent, vigilant, and even more discerning as to where, how, when, and with whom I expend my energy.

I’ve said “no” more often, taken things off my plate, reevaluated relationships of all kinds- including my relationship with time- and determined what energies are or aren’t worth my time and attention. Yes.. it’s about boundaries, self-care, self-preservation, self-respect and total alignment, congruency and integrity with thoughts, actions and how to show up and move in the world. It’s about allowing yourself some grace!

Speaking of grace, I am also truly blessed to have a close inner circle of friends which I hold close to my heart. These relationships have deepend over the years as a result of mutual love, constant support, authenticity, genuineness, transparency, integrity, vulnerability, and mutual respect. And when called upon, or when I text, “Can you chat?” they show up!

Enter your people – the ones who know what to say and what to do. Enter chamomile tea. Enter the breath, yoga mat, meditation, prayer, visualization, mantra and music. Enter grounding, rooting, centering, and regulating the nervous system.

Rather than stay in my head, I listened to my body and let it lead me. As Tony Robbins always says in his trainings, “If you’re in your head, your dead.” I needed to drop into my body and utilize my tools so that I could feel Embodied once again.

Back to the caffeine though: I was feeling very ungrounded and anxious over elective surgery that is coming up on June 2nd (and that’s for another blog)… wink, wink. The caffeine got me jittery which, in turn, got me anxious. Scrolling and reading about other peoples experiences didn’t help- no matter how well intentioned and educational it is. It definitely did not/does not serve my nervous system, so I’ll be unplugging for the next couple of weeks.

Oh, and let me not forget a totally irresponsible decision I made that put my friend’s beloved dog in danger. I saw friends outside their house and called out to their dog. Now mind you, I didn’t pull over. Since no one was behind me I just stopped the car. Since my mind was scattered, I was not present. I was not mindful of my actions. Little did I expect the dog to run into the street. OMG! Can you just imagine the shock ????

Thank God, guardian angels, powerful and divine beings that nothing happened!!! When I realized the dog was in the street, I had the presence of mind to open my car door and call its name and it immediately jumped into my car. I still have the distressed look on the owner’s face emblazoned in my mind’s eye, and I don’t think I’ll be forgetting that anytime soon.

The other thing I did after my grounding practice was pull one of Elena Brower’s cards from her Practice You Oracle Deck and it read: “The Universe is listening. I am thinking with love.” It also asks: when do you feel most at home in the silence within yourself?

Well, that was an easy one to answer because I practiced it. I showered myself with love, got silent, went within, and used the tools and resources I have to connect with the infinite all, my higher self and angelic guidance.

Needless to say, just a few minutes into my practice I felt better already. I felt the energy shifting. It’s as if the earth was pulling me deeper and deeper into herself via a luminous grounding cord. As I lay on my stomach with my forehead on the mat, feeling my belly press against the ground every time I inhaled, I felt held. It was as if Divine Mother and Mother Earth were whispering “I got you.”

The thing is that when we are in our heads, we forget who we truly are. We forget of our divine connection. We forget we are energy and that energy shifts with each thought or intention. We forget how powerful we truly are. We forget we are the co-creators of all our experiences. We forget how our thoughts can manifest positive results!

My intention for the next two weeks, since I will be self quarantining, is to give myself even more space. I will create my own daily mini retreats filled with all things that nourish and nurture my soul. If there is one thing I’ve learned to do well, it’s self-care and rest… Oh, and pre-hab and prep for surgery. I know all will be well!

And how ironic that I accidentally flipped my calendar and ended up with tomorrow’s affirmation/inspiration!?!?!? I truly believe there are no accidents or coincidences. The message needed to be read, digested and integrated today:

“Today I choose to think thoughts that will manifest positive results in the future “And in my beloved Sister-goddess friend’s, Kat’s words….And so it is!

What you are reading is the journaling and free writing I did after my practice. It just flowed out of me. Needless to say, I appreciate your time and attention…Thank you for reading! Comments always welcome.

Staying calm….and carrying on, JTC

Earth Teach Me…

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Jane Goodall

In honor of Earth Day, I decided to share a lovely prayer I came across while shopping a few weeks back at my favorite local shop, Carla Gizzi, in Asbury Park, NJ. It’s my go-to place for unique, fun, funky, sentimental, practical, fashionable, handcrafted beautiful gifts of all kinds…floor to ceiling! Everywhere you look- in every nook and cranny- there is a gem waiting to be discovered, held, sniffed, touched, read, tried on or simply admired.

OK,…back to the prayer…have you ever seen that rectangular box filled with 365 cards with quotes or poems on them? The box is sold as a set, but this shop also has one where you can purchase individual cards. I sometimes randomly buy one and include it in the gift I am buying. That’s where I came across the one I’ve decided to share on this auspicious day. I intentionally purchased it so that I could include it in my Earth Day ritual or prayers. I hope John Yellow Lark’s words touch your heart they did mine!

Earth teach me stillness as the grasses are stilled with light.

Earth teach me suffering as old stones suffer with memory.

Earth teach me humility as blossoms are humble with beginning.

Earth teach me caring as the mother who secures her young.

Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands alone.

Earth teach me limitation as the ant which crawls on the ground.

Earth teach me freedom as the eagle which soars in the sky.

Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall.

Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.

Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life.

Earth teach me to remember kindness as dry fields weep on the rain.

Darlings, may we all be reminded of the impact we have on the world around us. We can each make a difference on our beloved planet in all ways, big and small. May we strive to be better humans each and every day- by the way we carry ourselves, our thoughts, views, speech, and our actions. May we be reminded we are all connected! JTC

Spring into You

May days ahead be filled with light and love. Let us welcome Spring and its unique beauty with happy minds and open hearts.”

Nothing brings me more joy than to help declutter, organize, clear out, donate, purge, style someone, shop for them or even help them to create / decorate their sacred soul space. I love being in service this way. It lights me up, fills my heart with joy and allows me to spread the love.

We are 4 months into the new year and already I’ve had numerous opportunities to do just that! One of my intentions for 2022 was for more opportunities to be of service. Well, darlings, the universe has delivered and keeps on delivering…wink, wink.

The transition of winter into spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. It’s a time to plant new seeds and watch them blossom. It’s a time for refreshing all things you: whether it be your living space, closet, nutrition, beauty regimen, exercise routine or any type of mind/body wellness routine. Spring brings us renewed hope, love and light.

This time of year, I always reference a previous blog, Spring Cleaning. This is a great guide for decluttering as well as one if you are planning on moving. It’s organization to the max! It’s organization made easy so you can actually enjoy the process and celebrate afterwards. And I am all about the celebration!

As with all things in life, we have to clear out, make space- energetically and physically- for something else, or someone else, to come in. Always remember that outside clutter- for example in our home or workspace- reflects the internal clutter we have going on in our lives (and that’s a conversation for another day). Once we start creating space, the magic starts to happen!

Luckily, there are a plethora of smart storage solutions of all kinds out there that can help us to stay organized. The operative word here is “stay.” When every thing has a place, it’s a whole lot easier to maintain an organized environment, And there’s nothing like an environment that radiates love, light and creativity- regardless of how much or how little space we have.

I think that’s why I love the Netflix Series, The Home Edit, so much. There is also a beautifully curated book by the same name. If you’re a visual person like me, you’ll fall in love with the photo displays of all sorts: work, travel, kids, pets, closets, pantries , laundry rooms, garages, and more. Clea and Joanna, best friends, business partners and internet sensations show us how to contain the chaos regardless of how large or small our space is. I actually love it when they are presented with small spaces to organize….the challenge and the magic are real! I can so see myself as their third wheel!!! Oh, and I failed to mention that you’ll get a lot of laughs watching the series, which is now in its second season. Remember, laughter is the best medicine, darlings!

So…..what are some ways you can spring into you this season?

What areas of your life need to be overhauled, tidied up, refreshed, redecorated, reshaped, decluttered, purged, organized or let go of? Make it fun… Enlist the help of a friend whom you know loves these kinds of projects. Have snacks, refreshments, or even a little bubbly. Play music, dance, laugh, express gratitude for those things you have and are the ones you are letting go of… and celebrate!. Trust me, you will feel lighter, happier and filled with joy!

May this season of renewal bring us lots of opportunities to share our talents, lighten our days and our hearts, and opportunities to share our love! JTC

Faith. Hope. Love.

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Mahatma Gandhi

How is your heart?

Darlings, this is a question a couple of my teachers hav been repeatedly asking these days. It’s a question I wanted to write about in February’s blog- which I never ended up writing. It’s a question to sit with and ponder on a daily basis. It’s a question that may just reveal a whole lot of “stuff” given the times we are living. Stuff that you may just have stored “in there” somewhere and that is in need of feeling and releasing. That “somewhere” being your body-your cells: the place where all trauma is stored. And even your heart.

Pause for a moment. How is your heart?

Doesn’t it seem like the world is spiraling out of control? Do you sometimes find yourself losing faith? Losing hope? Wondering where has all the love gone?

Just when we are on the precipice of losing all faith in humanity, we see images from all over the world of people opening their homes and hearts to others who are in the midst of war and have lost everything and perhaps everyone in their family. Images that speak to the power of love and grace. Images that truly restore our faith in humanity and fill us with hope even in the midst of such atrocities.

I’m reminded of a quote by Desmond Tutu:

Hope is being able to see there is light despite all of the darkness.

It’s hard though. It’s also a practice: one that needs repeating again and again until it becomes second nature. It’s something we have to do because we are constantly being bombarded with real-time images and happenings. We are bearing witness to the best and the worst of humanity- which is both an upside as well as a downside of social media. However, in doing so, we ourselves may be triggered. Our own past traumas, perhaps accumulated and unhealed ones, may be rising to the surface and adding to the distress we may already be feeling.

What practices have you relied on in your life to get you through your darkest of times? What rituals allow you to see the light despite all of the darkness?

Darlings, we can’t lose faith. We can’t lose hope. We can’t lose love. Why not? Because the world has always been in some sort of turmoil since the beginning of time. All our ancestors have had to bear witness to traumas of all kinds: wars, famine, genocides, pandemics, social and racial injustices, economic injustices, terrorism, devastation, and unimaginable atrocities. These are the things that have brought about change, evolvement, awakening, activism, movements, technologies, etc., etc., etc. For better or worse, humanity has been moving forward.

As author and researcher Brene Brown recently said, “Understanding our emotions and experiences is our life’s work. The more we learn, the deeper we can continue to explore.”

Her book, Atlas of the Heart, may be something you’d like to check out. I recently started reading and it is so rich in research and human emotions! As a matter of fact, a five-part series built around the research and teachings of Atlas of the Heart, is out and streaming on HBO Max. Check it out…check it out…check it out!

How is your heart?

This is a wonderful question that will be sure to illicit lots of deep and meaningful thoughts and conversations. Give it a try….you may be surprised at all that arises time and time again!

One breath, one moment, one day at a time…may we all lead from the heart…right from the start! JTC

The Blessed Pause

“Busy-ness steals imagination. Being constantly over scheduled dims creativity. Doing the most limits your capacity to expand.” -Octavia Raheem

Greetings, my darlings, and Happy New Year!

I meant to get this blog our sooner, but I have been taking a lot of time to rest since the start of the new year. If you read my previous blog, Blessings Bloom, then you know I made rest and honoring my body a huge priority starting January of last year. Well…it appears I’ve continued that…wink, wink.

SInce writing that blog, I decided that my word for 2022 was going to be Space. It kept popping up over and over again- in meditations, yoga nidra practices and social media posts. Space allows for the blessed pause. Or is it that the blessed pause allows for space? EIther way, they are both the antithesis of my most dreaded word, and one I have been dilligent about eliminating from my vocabulary, and that is busy.

In her IG post, yoga teacher, author, creator and teacher who is devoted to rest, Octavia Raheem, goes on to say:

“I used to respond to how are you with “busy,” a snorky smirk, then lift my chin with an air like being busy somehow proved that I was “somebody.” I was so proud of my over-scheduled life and wore busy as a badge of tired honor. My busy proved that I was important and worthy of something…I mean right? A messy truth is that my busy was costing me my health, relationships, clarity. It was costing me myself. My busy was a place to hide from a deeper calling and purpose and too much to fit in this space. But listen, busy can be a sneaky yet broad daylight type of thief. Stealing things from you that are priceless, precious and purposeful.”

WOW! POWERFUL! Can you relate? I sure can This was a very old version of me. I’ve written about that in past blogs over the years. And if you are a woman, head of household, perhaps a single parent, or someone juggling all the balls life throwing at you, I am certain Octavia’s words in one way, shape or form resonate for you.

Darlings, the start of a new year can exacerbate this “busyness” state without us even realizing it. January tends to be a time of year when people feel compelled to do, do, do because it’s the start of a new year, new beginnings, and perhaps a new you. Lists are made, planners get crammed with “goals” and “to do lists” and overscheduling of all types. Yet, the most important part of this time of year- especially in the northern hemisphere where it is winter season- is REST. It’s slowing down. Moving slowly. Honoring the cycles of the moon and sun. It’s the blessed pause.

Have you ever noticed that when we move slowly time goes by slowly as well? That when we pause we create space for clarity, connection and for our intuition to sharpen? That this space seems like we’ve been given extra time? So much of this is tied to our quality of life!

In fact, if we take a page out of Mother Nature’s book, we see the beauty of honoring the season and how important it is to go within, tap into our inner vastness and even “do nothing and rest afterwards” which happens to be one of my favorite sayings. Pausing and resting also allow for expansion and spaciousness. Who doesn’t want more spaceousness in their lives?

When we are on constant “doing mode” our nervous system is stressed, taxed, fatigued and overloaded. We miss the simple pleasures of the winter season. And these simple pleasures are extremely soothing, nourishing, expansive and vital for the soul and for our growth.

Taking the time to periodically disconnect from all the distractions of social media and the toxic, fear-mongering of the news cycle will also add to the quality of your life… the quality of your being. It gifts us with yet more space and time as well as inner peace.

Darlings, don’t limit your capacity to expand! In fact, I encourage you all to follow Octavia Raheem and her work. Her new book- Pause, Rest, Be: Stillness Practices for Courage in Times of Change will be released on February 1st. If you go on her IG, you will see other offerings of hers in addition to ways to be part of the virtual book club.

Given the times we are living, we need to not only have a hefty toolbox of spiritual tools and practices, but we must take action: put ourselves in the right physical, emotional and mental state and put the tools into place. This, my darlings, is an ongoing practice!!!

I wish you all the joys of the blessed pause! JTC

Blessings Bloom

“The most valuable possession you can have is an open heart.” Carlos Santana

Wow! Here we are, at the end of yet another tumultuous year! Where did you go, 2021?

If there is anything that 2020 and 2021 have taught us as a collective, is that life is messy! I believe that to really feel and live the messy, human experience, we have to enjoy the beauty in the mess. Find the joy. Keep an open heart. Looks for ways to expand. Love hard. Love deeply. Spread the love, and find the blessings that are always blooming around us.

This time last year, we were all faced with looking back at a year that brought with it collective grief, loss, violence, trauma and heartbreak. This time last year the general sentiment was that we needed 2021 to be filled with hope, kindness, compassion, empathy, peace, unity, community, reverence and respect for all of humanity and, above all, LOVE. After the cards 2020 dealt us, we were ready for some BIG changes.

How was 2021 for you? Did you experience any big changes or shifts? How did you show up for your Self and others? How did others show up for you? Did you find yourself re-evaluating relationships and the value, or lack thereof, that people bring to your life? Did you intentionally make any big changes in your life? Did you set a goal or have a vision for 2021? Did you have a particular word for the year? Do you have a vision or a word for 2022?

For me personally, 2021 flew by in a heartbeat!!! I feel like I was so much more productive in 2020. However, I did feel more present, expansive, resourced, rooted and rested than ever before. I made rest and honoring my body a huge priority starting January 2021 since I knew I was going to have one of my knees replaced. My focus was keeping my nervous system regulated and in rest and digest mode. A necessary part of that was also keeping fear mongers at bay and not operating from the matrix of fear.

I think what also helped was that my word for the year in 2021 was REVERENCE….for all things and all beings. Feeling deeply became a practice as did finding the blessing no matter how messy life got.

I feel that I dedicated my time to what and who mattered most and balanced play with rest. With reverence as my guide, I was very intentional and discerning with how, what, where and with whom to expend my energy- especially given the energy I would need to have for the months following my surgery.

Choosing reverence as my word for 2021 came on the heals of discernment and intention (words for the two years prior). In my estimation, they are a perfect trifecta. And that trifecta is made even sweeter by bringing in the rest piece. If you missed my August blog titled, The Power of Resting Radiantly, you may want to check it out.

See, the thing about being fully rested is that it allows us to be present, intentional, discerning and in a space where we see blessings bloom…..and being able to find, and even enjoy, the blessings in the mess. Let’s face it, we make better decisions in all areas of our lives when we are rested. We are better equipped to deal with the messy aspect of our lives. Heck, we are even able to feel the gratitude those moments present regardless of how challenging they may be.

The most magical thing about being fully rested is our connection to the Divine. Our intuition is sharpened, we can feel and sense the downloads happening and the ways inspiration and guidance are presenting themselves. We are more awake and open to life’s synchronicities and are more present in our daily interactions. More importantly though, I feel that we are better able to get out of our heads and drop into our hearts. In doing so, we approach life, people, circumstances and just about everything else with an open heart.

In dropping into my heart center, I think my word for this next year may be either connection or integration. Exploring all sorts of connections and keeping an open heart to what lays ahead, what may show up, and the blessings that bloom around it all. Sometimes making connections also involves reflecting back on where we’ve been and how we got to where we are. A little self-inquiry can help guide the way.

Being able to integrate all of it is also a work in progress and a determining factor as to how we proceed and how we show up for this human experience. Who says I can’t choose 2 words….wink, wink!?!?!

A self-inquiry process allows us to have or establish a vision of where we want to go, where we want to be either personally or professionally, what we need to change or refine and further identify things, people, situations or circumstances that are no longer serving our highest good. These, too, are blessings!

What are some blessings you would like to see bloom in 2022?

What are some of the practices that would support YOUR physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health?

As we bring 2021 to a close, I will leave you with some lovely affirmations from Yoga with Kassandra that will help support you and your practices as you venture into a new year. May they serve you well and, as the saying goes, take what you need and leave the rest!

I treat my body with love and respect

I allow all parts of me to be expressed.

In this moment I release all thoughts and worry.

When challenges arise, I stay anchored in hope.

I allow myself to slow down and rest.

My self-esteem is growing day by day.

I send healing energy to all parts of my body.

Darlings, I thank you for support, comments, feedback and for taking the time to read my blogs. May 2022 bring you all sorts of abundant blessings, and may you have the clarity, calm and ease to receive them- even if they come disguised as challenges.

Just remember, an open heart is our most valuable possession! JTC

Love, Gratitude and Blessings

“All the great teachers have left us with a similar message: Go within, discover your invisible higher self, and know God is the LOVE that resides within you.” -Wayne Dyer

Imagine the world we could live in if everyone was consciously connected to the divine LOVE that resides within each and every one of us. Imagine if we all acted from this space. Imagine if we all took the time to make connecting with our higher self a practice. Imagine if love was a way of life for all human beings.

Imagine if we all had some kind of formal GRATITUDE practice. Imagine if gratitude was our daily attitude. Imagine if gratefulness was the state we embodied. Imagine if gratitude was our forever companion.

Imagine if we all saw the BLESSINGS that abound. Imagine if we all took the time to see the lessons and the blessings that always present themselves. Imagine if blessings didn’t exist.

Imagine if we all led from a place of love, gratitude and blessings. Imagine if we could all be a healthy bridge between past and future generations. Imagine the healing that would provide. Imagine how proud our ancestors, known and unknown, would be of us all. These are some of the things I’ve been pondering this week.

Baby steps though…it all begins with each and every one of us committing to going within, connecting to the love that is our essence, doing the work, dealing with and clearing past traumas, limiting beliefs as well as conscious and unconscious biases that do not serve us and doing our part to dismantle systems of oppression that are not serving all of humanity. Knowledge is POWER! And as Maya Angelous always said, “When you know better, do better.”

Yesterday I took a beautiful class with Acosia Red Elk. She is an Enrolled Member of the Umatilla Tribe in Northeastern Oregon. One of her many talents is that she is an Indigenous Yoga Teacher and Facilitator. The class was a 7 Generation Prayer Flow and Time Line Clearing, and it was so powerful, emotional and moving!!!

I especially loved the way she referred to us all being a mini earth and that we are also the ripple effect of the past. One of the things that struck me was when she said that we are all indigenous people and that we all carry indigenous wisdom in our body. The knowingness is there, my darlings. We just have to create the space and the practices to connect, ground and access this inner wisdom that has been passed down for generations and generations.

Our bodies are filled with knowledge and information. This information is the rippling effect of each choice and life experience that our ancestors and elders had. ..in other words, “The teachings of our ancestors were the foundation for who and where we are today.” When Acosia Red Elk said this, I was overcome with emotion. The tears were stinging my eyes! I found myself breathing deeply into this knowing. I felt it in my bones.

If we take the time to think about our ancestors, regardless of when they existed on this planet and the lessons, experiences and choices with which they were faced, they all had the same goal: to thrive and survive. I’ve often said that we are our ancestors unfulfilled wishes, unspoken words, the product of their hopes and dreams, and the answers to their prayers. That, in itself, is so powerful!

When we take the time to acknowledge these things, hold them in love and gratitude without judging them, we can see the blessing that we are. We can see how we stand on the shoulders of fiercely determined individuals who fought, prayed and dreamed for all of us who are alive at this very moment in time. Now what do we do with that knowledge?

On this day of remembering, one that is complicated and painful for many, I leave you with the following:

What kind of ancestor do you want to be for future generations?

What kind of bridge do you want to build in order to connect past and future generations?

What kind of world and planet do you want to leave for future generations to inherit?

How can you honor those who came before you?

What wisdom can you pass on to your loved ones?

What teachings have served you on your journey thus far?

Which ones haven’t?

What learned behaviors have been an obstacle and are in need of clearing?

What must you forgive your Self for?

Who or what in your life is in need of forgiving?

How can you commit to being the change in your little corner of the universe?

What kind of ripple do you want to be?

Despite everything currently going on in our world, please do not be discouraged by it. I encourage us all to see the good in the world because there truly is a whole lot of it! We can each be a part of it….we can each be a wonder in the world…one that is filled with remembrance, truth, love, gratitude and blessings!

Remember to lead form the heart…right from the start! JTC